NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Peter Cappers

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2017Default Effects and Follow-On Behavior: Evidence from an Electricity Pricing Program
with Meredith Fowlie, Catherine Wolfram, C. Anna Spurlock, Annika Todd, Patrick Baylis: w23553
We study default effects in the context of a residential electricity pricing program. We implement a large-scale randomized controlled trial in which one treatment group is given the option to opt-in to time-based pricing while another is defaulted into the program but allowed to opt-out. We provide dramatic evidence of a default effect – a significantly higher fraction of households defaulted onto the time-based pricing plan enroll in the program, even though opting out simply involved making a phone call or clicking through to a website. A distinguishing feature of our empirical setting is that we observe follow-on behavior subsequent to the default manipulation. Specifically, we observe customers’ electricity consumption in light of the pricing plan they face. This, in conjunction with ...
 
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